vegan muse

Thoughts on Fishing

Fishing is not in keeping with the subject-of-a-life philosophy (Regan) you, the reader, are most likely familiar with. Fish, like other sentient beings, are an end in themselves and thus not a means to be exploited. They, like humans, possess inherent value. The abolitionist would argue that one (a human being) is never justified in performing an act such as this (among other things, the usually violent removal of a sentient being from its catered oxygenated environment and the subsequent allowance of maximum pain via suffocation upon removal, what we call fishing), no matter the circumstance. Since I indeed subscribe to this philosophy, I therefore think that fishing and ethical discussion have a qualitative difference and not a quantitative one (differs in kind, not degree). Ethicality is thus nonexistent when one engages in the act of fishing. We have seen this avenue of thinking applied to free-range (nonbattery-cage) chickens, pastured cows and the like. These attempts to bring ethics into the discussion are simply welfarist-based; concern is rooted in treatment, not in the reason as to why this sort of thing exists in the first place. Slavery was/is a perfect example: By philosophical standards, was slavery ever justifiable? Of course not.

As Gary Francione, Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark, contends, “Many heinous practices and traditions, including slavery and sexism, have been justified by appeals to arguments that assume that certain people are naturally superior and others are naturally inferior.” It seems as though ethics is abandoned, or severely wounded (enter the welfarist), when the subject of our thought/action is nonhuman. Fishing is exploitative and immoral at its very root and thus is deemed unacceptable.

Fish Is Not a Health Food 1; 2

Fish protein clogs the arteries and is damaging to both kidneys and bone. 15 to 30 % of fish fat is saturated fat, which is particularly problematic for our species. Also, Omega-3 fatty acids can be collected from plants (where fish obtain it from). Humans require 0.5 to 2 g per day, which can easily be obtained from plant foods. In our toxic food environment, fish is labelled as a healthy item but in reality, it is just healthier than a cheeseburger. Some fish have more cholesterol per calorie than beef. Our waters have become our sewer systems and fish are now loaded with environmental contaminants. Even wild Alaskan salmon have detectable levels of mercury. People who eat the most fish (Greenlanders and Eskimos) have a low life expectancy and high rates of osteoporosis (highest levels on the planet). Does this sound like a food intended for human beings to subsist on? I think not.

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Written by Ethan Handur

May 30, 2009 at 9:36

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